I don't have to agree with another writer, and clearly I don't: I actually do go to the games to watch strategy and to watch teams outsmart and outplay the other team, and I see shifts as part of that strategy.
If a boxer cannot defend his right cheek do you outlaw the left hook -- or say, dude, learn
to protect your right cheek? Or your career will be short.
So if a hitter cannot overcome the shift, we change the game for him?
That's against the spirit of baseball -- to eliminate an edge earned by intellect, savvy, and game IQ. Let's outlaw pickoff moves that are too deceptive. Let's outlaw backpicks. They're dishonest and mean to the runner. How dare you deceive that poor helpless athlete.
Seriously. We're doing this?
I remember when shifts were celebrated. They were called instincts. In St. Louis, Jose Oquendo was celebrated as a coach of infielders because he would direct traffic on the infield to position players for a better chance of making a play. This was lauded. How many times did you hear about David Eckstein positioning himself for a play because of the info he was given Oquendo and Dave Duncan, the latter of whom kept intricate charts by hand to help the infielders know where to position themselves for certain hitters. And that was less than FIFTEEN YEARS AGO! Shifts have been in play for baseball as long as there has been baseball and infielders who paid attention. The Cardinals were rightfully ridiculed for not shifting against Anthony Rizzo. They gave up an edge and paid for it. The Cardinals neutralized Ted Williams with the Boudreau shift and won a championship. Would give that one back?
I go to the ballpark to see the game played well. Banning the shifts is limiting the game without improving it. Solve the real problem: Get more baseballs in play. More balls in play mean less predictability with those balls in play. The shift will adjust. The game will be better. And we won't have artificially eliminated an edge teams get with their smarts.